At SONIC, I get to help people. I mentor management.

"Success is a journey."

The day Buddy McClain got to Sonic, he knew what he was going to do with the rest of his life. He was a cook in his first job, and knew it was going to become more. McClain worked his way up through the management ranks until he was the owner-operator of the Selma, Ala., SONIC in 1978. What followed was the beginnings of the MVP SONIC GROUP. Store-by-store and market-by-market, under McClain’s leadership, MVP has grown to own and operate 99 SONICs in three states by 2017.

At MVP, McClain instills a focus on the people. He built a corporate office in Ridgeland in 2001. McClain wanted to show that you can make a career at SONIC, that there is a management path and that there is even a path to be a partner. Managers at MVP make an average 20 percent more money than people in similar positions with other restaurant chains. McClain understands the value that high-operating managers and teams contribute to customer satisfaction, operational excellence and profit growth.

When McClain tells his story, he is always sure to mention how the SONIC Drive-Ins give back to the community because the community has been very good to the MVP SONICs in the region. Each of the MVP restaurants are involved in their hometowns and are grateful to play a part in their community growth and success.

Buddy McClain has won numerous SONIC national awards starting with the Turnaround Operator of the Year Award in 2000, Chain Leader/Multi-Unit Operator of the Year in 2003, and the Mason Development Award in 2005. McClain has also been a member of the prestigious SONIC Executive Advisory Council since 1994. In 2005, he was recognized with the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award given by the University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business.

In 2014 Buddy was awarded the Troy Smith Award. Named after SONIC’s founder, the Troy Smith Award is SONIC’s most prestigious award given to a franchisee that has worked with SONIC for a noteworthy duration. It is given to an individual that has made a significant contribution in terms of leadership, growth, positive influence and brand image.

As an active member of the business community, he was on the Board of Directors for the Central Mississippi American Red Cross from 2007-2011. McClain is now the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Red Cross in Jackson and on the Mississippi Regional Board for the Red Cross. McClain has been a member of the Metro-Jackson Chamber of Commerce since 1999, and he is on the Business Advisory Board of the University of Southern Mississippi.

McClain is an active member of the First Baptist Church of Fannin. He is married to Joni McClain and has two children, Stefanie McClain Fairly and Mallory McClain. He has two grandchildren, Knox McClain Fairly and Jane Graham Fairly. He is an avid hunter and enjoys riding his Harley Davidson.


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